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Author: Aaron Fischman (page 1 of 4)

Adam Mares: “Guys Are Figuring Out New Roles Around Millsap”

In Paul Millsap’s first season in town, Adam Mares sees clear contributions on both sides of the ball. He also believes the forward’s teammates are still adjusting to their new roles (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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The 5-5 Denver Nuggets are currently about as good as their record would suggest, according to this week’s guest, Adam Mares, host of the Locked on Nuggets podcast and site manager for SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs. He argues that despite the team’s considerable continuity, many players are still adjusting to new roles this season. In addition, the Nuggets are still incorporating Paul Millsap into their game plan, particularly on the offensive end. Adam discusses this process, Denver’s many young guards and much more in this action-packed episode. He strikes gold throughout, but here are some examples (the exact time stamps slightly vary from user to user depending on the length of one’s customized ads):

7:28-8:23: “[Nikola] Jokic really quarterbacked the offense last year from the center position – he was a point-center. And that wasn’t just a cliché. He really was the facilitator on offense…Steve Kerr was in town yesterday with the Warriors, and he said that the Nuggets’ offense last season was like a pinwheel where Jokic was the center of that and everybody’s kind of operating and cutting and spacing around him. Well, this season, they haven’t really gotten to that yet – I think they’re moving in that direction. They’re playing through Paul Millsap a lot as I think you would expect – he’s a four-time All-Star – and guys are just kind of figuring out new roles around Millsap, Millsap’s learning how to play off of Jokic and Jokic off of Millsap. And so, right now, in particular, their half-court offense has been pretty bad. Not just a little bit of a step back, but I think a huge step back.” Continue reading

Clippers Basketball “Transports” Will & Grace Co-Creator David Kohan

Patrick Beverley, who was acquired in the Chris Paul-centered blockbuster trade with the Rockets, is David Kohan’s favorite new addition and he tells us why (Pkantz/Creative Commons).

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David Kohan, best known for co-creating the pioneering hit comedy series “Will & Grace” is actually a huge Los Angeles Clippers fan, attending games as early as the late ‘80s. In this episode, Aaron had the opportunity to talk with David about both the return of Will & Grace after 11 years off the air and his beloved Clippers. We’ll hear about a wide array of topics, including how David processes the loss of Chris Paul, his take on Blake Griffin’s newfound 3-point stroke and why Patrick Beverley is our guest’s favorite new addition. Some non-Clippers areas covered include why the show has returned, what, if anything, is now different with the program and when David might collaborate with his sister, Jenji, who created “Weeds” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Some clips, pun intended, are excerpted below:

*But, first, two quick editor’s notes:

  • Early on, when David is referencing the 2016-17 Clippers’ hot start through 10 games, Aaron remarks, “14-1 or something like that.” In fact, those Clippers began 10-1 and 14-2. So he was close, but no cigar.
  • Between the interview recording and release, rookie point guard Milos Teodosic’s foot MRI results were revealed. He’ll be sidelined indefinitely with a plantar fascia injury.

4:31-4:50: “There was something about last season that felt joyless. In fact, that should have been what it said on the T-shirts: joyless. This year so far, in the two-game sample size, they seem looser and freer. It seems more fun.”

10:30-11:54: “The thing that I will miss about Chris Paul is he was the guy that, in any crunch-time situation, he was the one you trusted the most. I trusted Chris Paul as a scorer, as a defender, as a team leader, as the guy who was going to make the right decision more than anybody else on the team by far. So it was scary initially when he was traded. Continue reading

Sekou Smith (Eastern Conference Preview): Giannis’ Next Challenge? Being Great Every Game

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t turn 23 until early December, but that hasn’t stopped some from mentioning him as a fringe MVP candidate. Guest Sekou Smith thinks it could happen (Erik Drost/Creative Commons).

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A number of stars, including Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap, no longer play in the East, potentially leaving the conference with ample playoff spots available for the taking. In addition, the reigning Eastern Conference finalists recently swapped star point guards, adding a special flavor to their existing rivalry. Meanwhile, teams like the Raptors, Bucks and Wizards hope their various brands of continuity can vault them to an elite class. To help us sort through it all, Sekou Smith, NBA.com writer and host of the Hang Time podcast, appears for a can’t-miss episode. By all means…sample some Sekou snippets:

4:59-5:35: “[Dwyane Wade]’s been a starter basically his entire career. I think in his career, he’s maybe come off the bench 10, 11 times. To ask him to come in and play a role as a bench guy right now, [considering] the fact that he’s not a great 3-point shooter, that would have been asking a lot for him to come in cold and be effective and make an impact on that team.  I think, as a starter, you give him a chance to not only do what he’s always done as a scorer… but you give him an opportunity to get in a rhythm… and to play off of LeBron at a high level, which you know he can do.”

10:00-10:14: “The team that I like, that’s kind of my wild-card team in the East, is Milwaukee. I think they do have a depth of talent that could put them in a position to challenge for one of those top two or three spots if a bunch of things go right for them.” Continue reading

Dave Zirin: “There Is No Stay in Your Lane…All the Rules Are Gone”

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has become one of the league’s most vocal advocates on various social issues (Zereshk/Creative Commons).

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In these unprecedented times in which sports is constantly intersecting with politics and society, Dave Zirin of The Nation and the Edge of Sports podcast joins the show for an important conversation. Below, you can find some highlights from the interview:

6:31-7:18: “There is no stay in your lane at this point. All the rules are gone, and I think the very existence of Donald Trump should remove this idea, even as a debate. But the reason you’ve heard it step up in recent years is precisely because we have this Donald Trump[-led] racist backlash taking place in this country. And part of this racist backlash involves squelching voices of dissent. I would argue there’s been no cultural sphere quite like the world of sports in terms of being a center of anti-racist activism. It has been the voice, the clarion call, the moral conscience about racism in the United States over the last five years, dating back to, I would argue, the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.”

12:49-13:18: “This has always been part of his [LeBron James’] DNA. This has always been a part of the kind of legacy he wanted to leave. So while LeBron James, I would argue, has been strongly affected by the Black Lives Matter movement, by social media, he’s also somebody who came into the league with this idea of thinking to himself, ‘I want to be a global icon like [Muhammad] Ali. I don’t want to be defined just by my bank account but [by] the kind of political contribution that I can leave behind.’” Continue reading

Matt Hill on His Projects, Lonzo Ball Fascination

Lonzo Ball has reeled our guest Matt Hill back into being a full-fledged Lakers fan (TonytheTiger/Wikimedia Commons).

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The creative Matt Hill, Super Hoopers cofounder and cohost, graces us with his presence, as we discuss a wide selection of topics, ranging from his viral animated comedy web series “Spurs Special Forces” to Lonzo Ball, bandwagon fans and so much more. A trio of excerpts can be found below:

6:50-7:06: Matt discusses longtime friend Randall Park [actor-comedian]’s unique contributions to “Spurs Special Forces.” 

“He’s just an old friend. So I was doing the Spurs [Special Forces video], and I thought it’d be funny to have him even though he knows nothing about basketball. He has no idea who Manu Ginobili is. Basically his impression of Manu Ginobili is almost like half-Scarface. It’s like a high-pitched Scarface.” Continue reading

Celebrating the 100th Show

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For this special episode, your hosts will break precedent and not write too much below the audio player. Most importantly, we sincerely appreciate the myriad contributions to our project and made this episode to help spell those out. It’s a long episode, but one which we hope you’ll find well worth your while.

Interview Timestamps:

13:25-23:52: Lang Whitaker

44:24-51:52: Andy Liu

52:40-57:40: Justin Faudree

58:50-1:06:16: Josh Baumgard

1:06:41-1:13:40: Dan Feldman

1:14:52-1:22:15: Nick Denning

1:24:17-1:29:16: Adena Jones (formerly Andrews)

1:30:41-1:41:12: Michael Pina

1:42:15-1:51:30: Chris Axmann

A few other notable features:

23:52-26:59: Fun Fact Montage

27:10-44:24: Andy Liu Montage


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Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Tim Faklis: Timberwolves Primed for Playoffs as 5 or 6 Seed

Andrew Wiggins, just 22, has been mentioned in Kyrie Irving trade rumors, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says he wants him in town for the long haul (Jose Garcia/Creative Commons).

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have missed the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons, while finishing with more losses than wins over the last 12. However, the tide is about to turn, according to our guest, Tim Faklis, who contributes to A Wolf Among Wolves, Wolves Wired and FanSided’s The Step Back. He argues that the team’s active offseason, highlighted by the blockbuster trade with Chicago that landed Jimmy Butler, has placed it firmly in win-now mode. Tim touches upon a wide assortment of topics, including the Timberwolves’ expected improvement and whether or not they should try to trade for the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving. Let’s see if these excerpts leave you howling at the moon:

3:20-4:02: “He [Butler] is not a dynamite perimeter shooter, but pretty much every other aspect of his game is something that they’ve missed, especially defensively. They were the worst defensive team in the NBA by a lot of measures last year. And Butler brings in that defensive toughness that [coach Tom] Thibodeau’s been looking for since he joined the team really… I think part of Thibodeau’s plan is to have Butler teach the both of them [Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins], especially Wiggins, how to work on that end.”

12:02-12:39: “Jeff Teague has been up and down from season to season in terms of his 3-point shooting. The hope is that he’ll be up in Minnesota with guys like Butler, guys like Wiggins, guys like Towns there to initiate most of the offense and him just to kind of bring the ball up and then play. Continue reading

Jovan Buha: Blake Griffin Will “Surpass Paul as Best & Most Important Clipper Ever”

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ESPN.com’s Jovan Buha joins the podcast to analyze the Los Angeles Clippers’ tumultuous 2017 offseason, highlighted by the departure of Chris Paul and the re-signing of Blake Griffin. Developments from the last couple weeks have raised so many questions. Fortunately, Jovan can reliably provide compelling answers.

Enjoy these clips (pun intended; puns are always intended here):

4:14-5:03: “He [Paul] obviously wants to win a championship, wants to make the conference finals, get that monkey off his back, and I think for him, surveying the scene, I think Houston and San Antonio both had more upside. The Clippers, with their cap situation, were most likely going to lose J.J. Redick no matter what and still might end up losing Luc Mbah a Moute, who actually ended up being a bargain signing for them with the bi-annual exception. So I think just looking at it from that perspective, the Clippers were basically going to return the same team as last year minus their two starting wings. And if I’m Chris Paul and we just won 51 games and lost in the first round, that’s not very attractive to me.”

28:57-30:20: “I thought they added depth, they added versatility, they added some youth, and they added assets. At the worst, Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley can both be flipped easily if you want to flip those guys…In the macro sense, the Clippers lost the trade because they lost a top-10 player and they went from a fringe contender to a playoff hopeful.” Continue reading

Sean Derenthal: Lonzo Ball Could Be Draft’s “Best Player or Basically Unplayable”

Smoke screens aside, guest Javier Pesquera retains “99.9 percent” confidence that the Lakers will select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick (TonyTheTiger/Creative Commons).

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With the draft fast approaching – it’s scheduled for Thursday, June 22, – we’re joined by a pair of men who closely and passionately follow the NBA draft and its potential prospects year-round. Ode to Oden’s Sean Derenthal and Javier Pesquera of What’s on Draft lend their time and expertise to the show, discussing a wide range of issues, including but not limited to Markelle Fultz’s top billing, the Lonzo Ball phenomenon, the strengths and weaknesses of Josh Jackson’s and Dennis Smith Jr.’s games and the nature of this year’s international class. You won’t want to miss this one, especially if, like your hosts, you’ve been fixated on the NBA all season.

Sean Derenthal: 9:28-9:43:

“Lonzo Ball is super-, super-interesting. If you told me like five years from now that he was the best player out of this draft, I wouldn’t be surprised. If you told me that he was basically unplayable, I also wouldn’t be too surprised honestly.”

SD: 16:48-18:16:

“The problem with Josh Jackson, while he does bring all of that [defensive versatility], the reason that you wouldn’t take him is, well, one, there’s some off-court issues…Offensively, his shot is the big issue. So in the Finals, I think we saw that one-way players, it’s difficult to play these guys, Continue reading

2017 NBA Finals Preview With Brendan Bowers, Andy Liu

Despite having just surpassed Michael Jordan to become the all-time leader in playoff points, LeBron James may be facing the largest challenge of his career against the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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The 2017 NBA Finals are finally here. And no surprise…the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are set to face off an NBA-record third straight time. These behemoths come in a combined 24-1 this postseason. The Warriors have won at least 67 games each of the last three regular seasons, whereas the defending champion Cavaliers boast a league-leading 120.7 Offensive Rating these playoffs. As if that weren’t enough, the second LeBron James-Kevin Durant Finals meeting will also be a key component, among a slew of fascinating storylines. To help us preview this highly anticipated rubber series, New York Times bestselling author Brendan Bowers and Warriors World’s Andy Liu team up to provide elite insight on these historic teams.

Brendan Bowers 5:57-7:14: “I think LeBron’s in his prime right now. And I’m not saying that prime’s gonna last X number of years. I don’t know how long it’s gonna last…If I was to guess one thing [as to] why is it the prime now: I think part of [it is] getting that championship for Cleveland, breaking the six-decade streak of no championships, doing it for his hometown, completing the redemption story. I think now that that whole thing is off his back, he’s just playing basketball, and he is, I think, playing it better than he ever has despite the athleticism that he had at 22, at 23, at 24. Continue reading

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